"You're out again today? Where do you find the energy?"
This question was asked by my 88-year-old neighbour, Mr. W. No slouch himself, he wakes up daily at 6:30 a.m. to lift weights and follows it up with a two-mile walk. Most afternoons we meet each other on our hilly rural road. I usually have at least one child in the running stroller, plus our dog Murphy. Most afternoons it is my second walk or run for the day and I run into Mr. W who is also out for his second walk of the day (following his afternoon nap, of course).
Truth is, by the afternoon I don't have that much energy and it's all I can do to tuck the kids into their stroller with a few Sesame Street podcasts and their favourite snacks. It's not a pretty sight at the end of my stroller runs - I'm exhausted and the kids are usually crabbing at each other because the snacks are gone. The only one that still raring to go is the dog (which is why I end up running twice a day - she is relentless!)
Parenting is a physically demanding job. How many times in a day are you begged for piggy big rides, to play soccer, to chase imaginary bad guys or race a toddler through the grocery store? I find that as a runner, the more I run, the more energetic and less stressed out and anxious I feel. Running gives me the energy to parent our two young children - and the mental sharpness to be the best parent I can be.
Truth is, I want to be like my neighbour when I'm 88. And I won't be like that by just standing still.
What do you find that gives you the most energy to keep up with your children?